Russia Slams Ukraine's Genocide Claims as 'Abuse of Process' in High-Stakes ICJ Hearing
The International Court of Justice hears Russia and Ukraine's arguments over the alleged abuse of the Genocide Convention to justify Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
In a highly anticipated hearing at the International Court of Justice, Russia has called Ukraine's case alleging Moscow's abuse of the Genocide Convention to justify its invasion last year an "abuse of process". Lawyers for Russia have sought to have the case dismissed, arguing that it is flawed and contrary to the jurisprudence of the court. Ukraine's case, filed shortly after Russia's invasion, claims that the attack was based on false claims of genocide and alleges that Moscow planned genocidal acts in Ukraine. Russia's legal team asserts that the court lacks jurisdiction and that the genocide convention cannot regulate the use of force by nations.
Gennady Kuzmin, the leader of Russia's legal team, drew parallels between Russia's attack on Ukraine and NATO's 1999 airstrikes on Serbia aimed at halting Belgrade's military campaign in Kosovo. He echoed Russian claims about "neo-Nazis in Kyiv" and argued that Ukraine's case is an "abuse of process" and a "manifest disregard of the proper administration of justice". Sienho Yee, another lawyer representing Russia, emphasized that the country had not used the genocide convention to justify its military actions, but rather based them on the right to self-determination and self-defense.
Ukraine contends that Russia has turned the Genocide Convention on its head, using false claims of genocide as a basis for violating the human rights of millions of people across Ukraine. In a show of support for Kyiv, 32 of Ukraine's allies, including Canada, Australia, and every European Union member nation except Hungary, will make statements in support of Ukraine's legal arguments. The United States, though it sought to make legal arguments on behalf of Ukraine, had its request rejected due to a technicality. The panel of international judges at the court is expected to take weeks or even months to reach a decision on whether the case can proceed. If it does, a final ruling is likely years away.
The International Court of Justice handles disputes between nations over matters of law, unlike the International Criminal Court, which holds individuals criminally responsible for offenses such as war crimes and crimes against humanity. In a separate development, the ICC has issued a war crimes arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, accusing him of being responsible for the abduction of Ukrainian children.